Ph: 207.396.6433 Fx: 207.396.6436
51 US Route 1 Suite H Scarborough, ME 04074
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Metabolic Leader
We specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of metabolic disorders of the endocrine system. Opened on November 15, 2010 by Dr. Stephan Babirak to provide the highest quality patient – focused healthcare in the southern Maine region.


We are now located at
51 US Route 1, Suite H Scarborough, ME 04074

Our Hours

Monday - Thursday
Office Hours:
8:00am – 4:00pm
Phone Hours:
9:00am – 4:00pm
Closed for lunch:
12:00 – 1:00pm
Closed on Friday

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To Buy Hydroxychloroquine Online Visit Our Pharmacy ↓

Hydroxychloroquine Myths Debunked: What You Need to Know

The initial surge in hydroxychloroquine's popularity can be traced back to early in the COVID-19 pandemic when a small, non-peer-reviewed study suggested it might be effective against SARS-CoV-2. As the world grappled with the escalating crisis, any potential treatment generated hope, leading to significant media coverage and public attention. Prominent political figures and influencers further amplified the drug's purported benefits, causing it to gain traction among the masses desperate for a cure. This hype was not grounded in substantial scientific evidence but was rather a reflection of the urgency and fear surrounding the pandemic.

Despite subsequent larger-scale studies and clinical trials that failed to show significant benefits for COVID-19 treatment, the initial hype had a lingering effect. The situation was exacerbated by the rapid spread of misinformation through social media, where fact and fiction blend seamlessly, making it challenging for people to discern the truth. This initial burst of enthusiasm for hydroxychloroquine set a foundation for the drug's mythology, with many clinging to the hope it originally represented, despite the emerging scientific consensus.

Dissecting the Covid-19 Cure Misconception

Early in the pandemic, hydroxychloroquine, a drug used for malaria and autoimmune conditions, was thrust into the spotlight as a potential treatment for Covid-19. This notion was fueled by a mix of early anecdotal evidence, preclinical studies suggesting some level of efficacy against coronaviruses, and high-profile endorsements. However, extensive clinical trials later revealed that hydroxychloroquine did not offer a clear benefit for treating Covid-19 patients and could lead to false hope and deviation from proven preventative measures and treatments.

Comprehensive studies, including randomized controlled trials, are considered the gold standard for evaluating drug efficacy. As such studies proceeded, they consistently showed that hydroxychloroquine did not significantly decrease the risk of death or accelerate recovery in individuals with Covid-19. These findings helped to clarify the role of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against the pandemic, underscoring the need for evidence-based treatments and dispelling the myth that it could serve as a cure for the virus.

Hydroxychloroquine's Side Effects and Risks Uncovered

Hydroxychloroquine, a medication long used for malaria and certain autoimmune conditions like lupus, experienced a surge in off-label use amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is imperative to acknowledge the potential side effects, which range from mild disturbances such as headaches and dizziness to severe complications like retinopathy, cardiac arrhythmias, and even neuropsychiatric effects. Particular attention should be given to patients with pre-existing heart conditions due to the drug's potential to cause QT prolongation, a specific electrocardiogram change that can lead to dangerous arrhythmias.

Caution is further warranted with long-term use, as it may lead to irreversible eye damage, specifically a condition known as hydroxychloroquine retinopathy which can result in permanent vision loss. The risks are heightened with higher doses and longer duration of treatment. Additionally, overdoses can be toxic and potentially lethal, necessitating careful adherence to prescribed guidelines. Given these risks, hydroxychloroquine should only be used under the strict supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, ensuring that its administration is warranted and safe for the individual patient’s condition.

The Truth about Hydroxychloroquine and Autoimmune Diseases

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been an established treatment for certain autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In these diseases, HCQ is believed to work by diminishing inflammatory responses, which are abnormally heightened due to the underlying autoimmune pathology. Clinicians have observed improvements in skin and joint symptoms, fewer disease flares, and a potential reduction in the need for steroids when patients maintain a regimen of HCQ. However, it is critical to approach this medication with a clear understanding of its role in managing autoimmune diseases, recognizing that it is part of a broader treatment strategy.

Despite its utility in specific autoimmune conditions, HCQ is not a cure-all and must be prescribed with caution. Long-term use requires regular monitoring due to the potential for rare but serious adverse effects, such as retinopathy, which can lead to vision changes if not detected early. Physicians usually recommend baseline and annual eye exams after five years of treatment or sooner if there are high-risk factors. Additionally, patients often receive counsel on the importance of judicious use and adherence to prescribed dosages to avoid complications. It is essential to convey that while HCQ can be beneficial for certain individuals with autoimmune diseases, its applications and limitations are grounded in scientific evidence and should be evaluated by healthcare professionals.

The Impact of Misinformation on Public Health Choices

Misinformation surrounding hydroxychloroquine during the COVID-19 pandemic had significant consequences on public health choices. The widespread sharing of unsubstantiated claims about the drug led to a rush on pharmacies, stockpiling, and in some cases, the self-administration of the medication without medical supervision. This not only caused a shortage for patients with legitimate prescriptions, typically for autoimmune diseases, but also diverted attention and resources away from evidence-based treatments and prevention strategies, potentially exacerbating the public health crisis.

Moreover, the endorsement of hydroxychloroquine by influential figures without robust scientific backing fueled distrust in health authorities and experts. Conflicting messages between prominent public personalities and health institutions compromised public adherence to expert-driven guidance, such as mask-wearing and vaccinations. This erosion of trust has long-term implications, as it undermines the effectiveness of health interventions and makes it more challenging to disseminate accurate information during ongoing and future public health emergencies.

Clarifying the Efficacy of Hydroxychloroquine through Science

Hydroxychloroquine's efficacy as a treatment modality has been subject to rigorous scientific scrutiny, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages, small-scale studies and anecdotal reports suggested that it might offer therapeutic benefits against the virus, leading to widespread interest and use. However, subsequent larger and more systematic studies failed to confirm these early findings. The most robust data, gathered from randomized controlled trials, indicated that hydroxychloroquine did not significantly reduce mortality or affect the progression of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients. These findings were pivotal in guiding health authorities around the world to reconsider and ultimately advise against the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 outside of clinical trials.

Beyond COVID-19, hydroxychloroquine's role in treating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus stands on much firmer ground. Years of empirical evidence and numerous studies have established its benefits in managing these conditions, helping to reduce flares and improve long-term outcomes. Importantly, its use in such diseases is based on a well-understood mechanism of action, which involves dampening the overactive immune response characteristic of these illnesses. Nonetheless, even with these proven benefits, the medication is not without its critics who often point to its potential side effects, and thus its usage necessitates careful patient selection and monitoring by healthcare professionals.